Parahebe perfoliata (Derwentia perfoliata)

“It looks like a Eucalyptus!!! Well yes this evergreen trailing perennial does possess perfoliate round leaves that wrap around the stem. To 30” tall upright and then sprawling. In mid summer soft periwinkle lilac flower spikes appear and are showy for weeks. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Forms an expanding clump. Unique perennial endemic to Tasmania and closely related to Hebes. Tired bedraggled plants may be cut to the ground in early spring to regrow. Mulch in fall. Light, regular summer water. Aka ‘Digger’s Speedwell’ Combine with larger perennials which can act as standards holding it when it flops. The more sun the less flopping. Evergreen to about 15ºF but resprouts from the base if frozen. Fun and easy to grow.

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Romneya coulteri ‘Butterfly’

Improved version of the Matilija Poppy that we love to let colonize our dry hillsides. Enormous 8″ wide ruffled pure white flower petals surround a furry central yellow zone. This cultivar has bigger flowers, more of them and bluer foliage. Unfortunately, it is no less vigorous and will take all the real estate you can give it. Thats easily 10′ x 35′ in 5 years. Best in contained areas. Full sun and average, well drained soil. To 8′ tall in bloom. Transplant very carefully, do not disturb the roots- rather dig a hole and gently set the whole undisturbed rootball in there. Water regularly for the first season to establish then none in subsequent years. Stems will usually freeze to the ground in winter. Removes these in February before new growth starts. Strongly deer resistant. Native to S.California.

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Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

A fantastic grass that performs wonderfully well in our climate. A clumping grass with very upright blue foliage. In summer inflorescences rise above the leaves with fine fluffy whitish flowers- provides a dramatic hazy effect. In autumn the 28″ tall grass becomes a whole other color palette. Deep raspberry and purple with tints of red before going over to all all reddish orange. An excellent color trip not the way to dormancy. When dormant it remains a presence and looks nice through winter. Cut down to the ground in late winter/early spring to make way for fresh new foliage. Not evergreen. Average to enriched well drained soil with light summer water. Established plants in reasonably good soil will sale through summer drought with no ill effects. Clumps expand over time to 2′ wide. Full sun. Easy grass. May self sow in open disturbed soil.

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Sedum palmeri

One of the very best Sedums that we grow. Trailing stems hold relatively large rosettes of fleshy blue gray leaves. Superficially it resembles a tender echeveria etc. But, its totally hardy and incredibly adaptable. Forming mounded spreading colonies from a dome shape and encompassing an area several feet wide shortly. Adaptable to full sun and no water but also a surprising amount of shade. Its best application is perhaps in containers and specifically winter containers. Excellent winter appearance. In early spring it erupts in clouds of bright yellow flowers. To 6″ tall x 2′ wide in rich to average, well drained soil. Not a fussy succulent by any stretch it persists with just average conditions. Native to the highest elevations of Mexico. Cold hardy (when not saturated) to at least 0ºF. Widely used in seasonal and permanent containers in Europe. Picture a Sempervivum (Hens and chicks) on a slightly trailing stem. Light consistent summer H20 but accepts drought. Very easy to propagate by moving stems from one location to the next. Even share with your neighbors. Easy.

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Sedum sediforme ‘Spanish Selection’

A really good Sedum that I got from a friend who collected it on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish mountains. Very soft blue gray foliage is shaped like pine needles lining trailing stems. Forms a good ground cover very fast. In summer 10″ vertical stems support clouds of soft off white flowers. Very different from so many other Sedums that bloom yellow. This soft color is very effective in the garden and of course draws pollinators from miles around. When spent the stems remain erect and turn gray- they may easily be collected by simply giving each a soft tug- or a whole a handful and they will break cleanly. Full sun to very light shade. Average to enriched soil that is not compacted. Good looking year round appearance. Not quite as dense or prolific as Sedum reflexum but still good. Slopes, between shrubs, as competition for weeds. Roots along the ground as it grows. Moves with ease and may be used as a temporary place holder while you think of what to plant next. Simply scoop up the foliage and move it to another place. Actual planting is not necessary. Share with friends. Great in seasonal as well as winter containers. To several feet wide. Light summer water or none when established. Easy plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Sesleria autumnalis ‘Campo de Azul’

An autumn moor grass with distinctive differences. Very blue upright, stiff foliage forms a large expanding clump. In mid summer through autumn (and beyond) 18″ straight vertical stems support gray/black flowers frosted with light yellow pollen. Excellent appearance year round for an evergreen grass to 1′ tall and 2′ wide in several seasons. Well drained average to enriched soil. Light, consistent summer water in full sun. Excellent massed, plant on 2′ centers. Flowers slowly decay over winter and spent stems may be cut away. Refrain from cutting this plant back to the ground. Winter damage will be covered quickly by new growth in late winter to early spring. Establishes quickly. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Native to Italy/Croatia- its adapted well to a summer dry climate. Nice looking grass.

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Tropaeolum majus ‘Orchid Flame’

This has turned into one of our favorite annuals. An ancient Nasturtium variety from the 1880’s it is a chameleon of a flower in color. Neat round, water lily leaves are distinctly blue on a compact cultivar. Almost instantly ruffled fragrant flower appear above the foliage. They take on various colors, often starting yellow sanguineous red will begin in the creases of the petals and spread throughout the flower. It appears to be dependent on the amount of heat. So, all matter of colors dominate on the flower as heat waxes and wanes. This selection appreciates full sun but not in a blazing position. Avoid the heat of reflected walls. An open north exposure is ideal. To 8″ tall x 1′ wide. Great in containers. Nice, exotic cut flower and fun to grow. Blooms all summer and cooler weather and fall rains re-invigorate the plant and sets an explosion of flowers that persist until a truly hard frost. Charming nasturtium that we love. Consistent summer moisture in AVERAGE, well drained soil.

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Yucca rostrata

Beaked Yucca does fantastically well in our climate and is one of the Yucca species that will form a dramatic trunk. Blue thin leaves radiate out in a perfectly round orb. Slowly rises to 8′ tall in our climate. Full hot all day sun in a warm position. Very well drained soil with light summer water during the hottest stretches to encourage growth. Occasionally, with age 4′ spikes appear holding large trusses of ivory flowers. Perfectly hardy to cold, way below 0ºF. Avoid cold wet sites- to really do well it needs heat and exposure. Not prone to bacterial leaf blight that affects other Yucca species. Good air circulation. Lives happily in large containers for eons. Focal point in many of the best gardens in our region. High deer resistance. Evergreen.

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